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Full text of "History And Human Relation"


questions very near to earth, such as the question of the
effect of heat on the substances to which it may be
applied; but as soon as one moves to a higher level, to
die question of the nature of heat itself, for example,
or, higher still, to the question of the origin of all heat,
human beings seem to differ more widely the more
lofty die intellectual region to which the matter is
carried. Where the mind of the group predominates
and the spirit of the herd keeps men close together a
certain solidarity can certainly be achieved for a time
even in the higher reaches of thought or speculation.
But if it is not true that civilisation always moves
towards, a higher differentiation of personality—and
towards a greater respect for individual people, or for
the options they make at the highest levels of thought
and decision—it is certain that a Christian civilisation
must move in this direction, especially as the element of
voluntariness is bound to be an important factor in a
religion so personal and intimate.

A Christian civilisation, precisely because it must
embrace so high a conception of personality, must move
towards what Christians themselves may regard as its
own undoing—towards freedom of conscience instead
of greater solidarity in the faith. A world in which
personality and conscience are respected, so that men
may choose the god they will worship and the moral end
they will serve—this, and only this, is a Christian
civilisation when human development has reached a
certain point. Precisely as such a civilisation becomes
more advanced, the problem of securing uniformity in
the most lofty realms (such as that of religion) becomes